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Sticks And Stones

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Album Review

What is most remarkable about Sticks and Stones, far and away the strongest record The 77's ever produced, is that it is essentially a compilation of rejects. Though it is comprised entirely of aborted singles and stray studio recordings, Sticks and Stones is as masterful and fluid as any proper album. From the clattering, rambunctious opener "MT" to the stark, harrowing "God Sends Quails," The 77's combine elements of classic pop and obstinate new wave around Michael Roe's aching tenor and desperate lyrics. The anthemic tendencies that upstaged the songwriting on The 77's are here reined in and controlled, leaving large, open spaces for Roe and Mark Tootle to flood with melody. "Don't, This Way," a haunting contemplation of mortality, is carried along on a single, sorrowful guitar line. "Nowhere Else" is a dazzling pop number buttressed by the Shirelles-like backing vocals of the Nurk Sisters. But perhaps the record's most trenchant, compelling feature is the way that Roe's longtime preoccupation with human failure here gives way to a naked yearning for love. Having spent the bulk of The 77's in remorse, Roe turns Sticks and Stones into a plea for compassion, pleading at one point to "release the past" lest it pollute the future. Though they were culled from disparate sources, the songs on Sticks and Stones together form a compelling portrait of sorrow and renewal, as affecting as it is timeless. ~ J. Edward Keyes, Rovi

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Described by Larry Norman as being "too Christian for the radio, and too radio for the Church," the 77's were formed in Sacramento in the early '80s by Mike Roe (vocals, guitar) Mark Tootle (keyboards, guitar, vocals), Jan Eric Volz (bass, guitar, vocals) and drummer Mark Proctor. Known at first as the Savage Young Scratch Band, the Christian band changed their name and released Ping Pong over the Abyss in 1982, and then replaced Proctor with Aaron Smith for All Fall Down two years later. Mark Tootle...
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Sticks And Stones, 77s
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